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January 24, 2013

City experiments with new de-icing practice

Streets dept. super: New agent will bring in savings.

LOGANSPORT — The Logansport Streets Department has recently started experimenting with a new de-icing agent on city bridges and roads to reduce costs and avoid disadvantages posed by laying salt and sand.

Streets Superintendent Dan Williams explained that the agent is created by mixing water with salt, creating a brine. The liquid is then sprayed on roads and bridges to not only melt ice, but to prevent it from forming as well.

The Indiana State Highway Department has also started adopting the new practice. Williams said that the state has recently trained him and members of the local department on how to create and distribute the de-icer.

Williams said the practice is in experimental stages right now. The department has used it successfully on the city’s three bridges as well as on Chase Road.

Williams praised the new agent at a recent Board of Public Works and Safety meeting.

“The savings are enormous,” he said, estimating the new de-icer would allow his department to cut salt costs by approximately 60 percent.

Williams went on to say that the new practice would provide further benefits by making it easier on the Streets Department’s employees. Because the agent can be used to pre-treat roads to prevent ice from forming, workers can distribute it during regular work hours rather than having to do it when bad weather strikes.

“We don’t have to call [employees] up at midnight and say the bridges are freezing over,” Williams said.

By cutting back on the use of salt and sand, Williams said that less of it would drain into street drains.

Jim Jackson, manager of the Water, Wastewater and Stormwater Department at Logansport Municipal Utilities said that sand can pose problems for stormwater lines and sewers, since it clogs lines and adds sediment to rivers in the area. He said high chloride levels from salt can be harmful to the environment and cause problems for water treatment processes as well.

“It normally takes an awful lot of salt for this to happen, but any amount eliminated is certainly beneficial,” Jackson said.

With snow predicted for the area on Friday, Williams said that the Streets Department and its new de-icing agent would be ready. The plan, he said, is to apply the de-icer on Jefferson Hill and apply another coat to Chase Road.

“Those are the ones in my experience that get slick first,” Williams said. “We’ll put another coat down to experiment.”

Mitchell Kirk is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or mitchell.kirk@pharostribune.com.

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